Thanks for stopping by and witnessing the resurrection of our website and blog. I’m absolutely embarrassed that I haven’t taken the time to write a blog post in months! I’ve been so focused on everything else that I’ve completely disregarded my writing schedule and y’all have suffered for that. I’m so sorry.
First, I want to say a huge “thank you!” to each of you for your prayers, emails, and words of support and love over the past couple of weeks. Sam is doing really well and is recovering each day. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday evening and has been very good about taking care of himself and doing what his doctor told him to do. According to his doctor every one of his test came back with good results and minimal residual damage. His official diagnosis is angina and high blood pressure, but there are medicines for both and with proper diet and exercise they saw no reason why he shouldn’t live many more years in health and happiness. He has a follow-up appointment with his GP tomorrow morning, and we’ll find out what we need to do to go forward and get him back to full health as quickly as we can.
We are daily amazed at how much God takes care of us. If we’d been in the States when his heart attack happened and the two subsequent TIAs (mild strokes) we would not have been able to afford to have him treated at a hospital, as we didn’t have health insurance. In coming to the UK we had to pay our National Health insurance up front as a part of our visa fees, so every test, scan, blood draw, x-ray, CT, prescription medications, and the hospital stay was covered by National Health. He received exceptional care, and he even said the food wasn’t too bad. God certainly held the timing of this event in his hands and allowed it to happen once we arrived here and not before, and I for one am so grateful that we serve a God who cares that much about his children.
Okay, moving onto the news that you really want to hear!
Sam and I have decided that we’re going to use this blog format as a replacement for a newsletter, at least for a while anyway. We have several reasons for this decision, but mostly it’s simply a time issue right now. We’ve been so busy trying to get settled and sorted that sitting down for long periods of time to do any real writing has just taken a back seat to other, more pressing matters. And to be honest with you, life happens every day, not just once a month. There have been so many funny encounters, awesome stories, and incredible ways in which the Lord is working here and if we wait to share all those things in one newsletter they just lose their potency, for us and for you. This format will allow us to share things with you as they happen – as if you’re right here serving along side us, rather than as a blip in our month.
I can’t believe we’ve been in Buckie over two months now, the time has just flown by and so much has happened. We’ve had an incredible first couple of months getting to know the church and the community around us. Sam has preached every week except for the Sunday he was in hospital, and his sermons have been really good. He’s decided to do a study through the book of Luke, and each of his sermons have been on point and well received among the congregation. We have seen a few folks who had fallen away from the church over the past couple of years without a minister have started to trickle in, and many in the town are talking about us, just waiting to see how things go before coming back.
In addition to our study through Luke, Sam has started a study in the book of Hebrews for our adult Bible study which happens on Sunday morning at 9:30. This group runs between 7-9 people currently, and they have all been really active participants as we’ve really dug into the book of Hebrews and the superiority of Jesus over the Old Testament system of worship, and some of the current trends in Christianity of the resurrection of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the observation of Jewish feasts/festivals/and laws among Christians.
I (Brittan) have recently gotten involved in a food ministry at a church here in Buckie called Soup & Sweet. This is a weekly luncheon for the community which raises funds for an addiction and crisis ministry in town, run by our friend, John Coppard at Riverside Church. I’ve been allowed to get in the kitchen and make soups and desserts and I’ve had the chance to get to know a ton of folks in the community though this event. The majority of people who attend on the Tuesday lunch are older, some are physically or mentally disabled, and many have been life-long residents of Buckie, Findochty, Cullen, and the surrounding areas. Several of these folks attend other local churches, but some have never attended church, or are casualties of the Church. This outreach ministry is strictly food based and open to everyone, but each week I see opportunities arise where I can meet hurting, lonely folks, pray with people who are ill or distressed, and offer a smile and a kind word to people who are very much the fringes of this wee community. Monday’s (the day we cook) and Tuesday’s (the day we serve) are my favorite days of the week now!
I’ve also had the privilege of hosting our ladies Bible study group at the manse now for the past month and have really enjoyed getting to know these women better. We’ve been looking at God’s Sovereignty through the book of Ruth. Its been a fun journey looking beyond the love story at how God is always in control and His plan will always be accomplished. We’ll finish up Ruth this coming Wednesday and then move right into a ten-week study on Psalm 119, which will take us to Christmas. I can’t wait to see what the Holy Spirit reveals to each of us as we sift through the words of David.
Like many of you, we’re getting geared up for the Christmas season here, although in Scotland Christmas is a much more low-key event than in the States. Our first planning meeting for our Christmas service will be held on Tuesday. I’m super excited to see what ideas the congregation has for this year, and we’ll start brainstorming ideas for next year as well, especially since we hope to have a year of diligent groundwork in the community done and may attract a larger crowd for next year’s event.
We will be announcing the dates, cost, and rough itinerary for our summer 2018 short term mission trips by Thanksgiving, so stay tuned for more information to come if you’re interested in coming to Scotland next summer! We’re currently planning two work based trips, a ladies only trip, and we’ll offer a couple of spots for summer internships for college students as well. We’re really excited to see who God is going to prompt to come and join us in Scotland next summer, and we’re already praying that the Lord will work in your hearts now.
We are extremely grateful to each of you for your continued partnership with our ministry. We can feel the Spirit of the Lord beginning to stir in this community already. We’re going to be doing some intentional prayer walking around town over the next couple of weeks, praying specifically for each of the churches in town, and against the strongholds the Enemy has here. We believe with our whole heart that the Lord has a great revival planned for northern Scotland in the next couple of years, and we know that the best facilitator to revival is prayer. We have discovered that our wee congregation has some mighty prayer warriors in it already and we’re trying to figure out a way to maximize that in our community.
Much love to each of you, and our prayers and thoughts are with you and your families.
Love and hugs,
Brittan & Sam